Richard Barley was born in the Western District of Victoria, in Australia.
After various roles in the agriculture sector, he joined the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne in 1980. He completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Horticulture) at Burnley College (University of Melbourne) and then took on responsibility for the provision of guidance to the state of Victoria’s many regional botanic gardens. From 1992 he moved into the role of manager and then director of the RBG’s Melbourne site. He held this position until 2010, when he was appointed as CEO of Open Gardens Australia.
Richard was appointed to the new position of Director of Horticulture for Kew Gardens in 2013. He has responsibility for Kew’s botanic garden and arboretum, display glasshouses, nurseries and the School of Horticulture. His role was expanded in 2015 to include Kew’s Learning and Operations activities.